Volleyball plays strong against competition

The Mercyhurst volleyball team is currently 7-2 for the season. Pictured above is junior Lexi Stefanov (2) who has been an impor: Salina BoweThe Mercyhurst volleyball team is currently 7-2 for the season. Pictured above is junior Lexi Stefanov (2) who has been an impor: Salina Bowe

Before this past weekend’s game, the Mercyhurst women’s volleyball team was on an eight-game winning streak and crushing the competition. The Lakers dominated eight consecutive games, only losing one set in all eight matches.

“Our team’s success has really come from a sense of confidence and consistency,” Lexi Stefanov, a junior middle blocker, said.

Aggressive and consistent play carried over from game to game, leading to the eight wins, according to Stefanov. This also shows through the statistics.

In their first win against West Liberty University, Mercyhurst stole the court. The Lakers only allowed WLU to score seven times in the first set and 16 in the second.
The last eight games had high energy levels and a high level of teamwork. Seven of those eight games were shutouts.

“The games have not been very close, but that is not necessarily to say that they were not difficult,” said Stefanov. “But, it proves how well we were performing.”

Each match, Mercyhurst showed its experience by controlling the pace of the game. The opponents, though having their own strengths, were not able to keep up, allowing the Lakers to dominate.

One game in the series that really stood out to Stefanov was the match against Kutztown University. Coming back from a loss to them last year, the Lakers beat them in three straight sets. The only set that the team came close to losing was the third set, which ended 30-28.

“We came out this year against them with so much contagious energy, and we just really controlled the match. It was awesome,” Stefanov said.

Stefanov has had her own success. She racked 86 kills and 106 points so far this season. However, she attributes all of her success to her team.

“With good passes come good sets, and with good sets come strong hits,” she explained. “Volleyball is such a team sport. Not one person’s stats could be possible without her teammates.”

The postseason looks bright for the team, as long as they continue to be aggressive, consistent and focused, according to Stefanov.

“It will be important to stay mentally strong as the season progresses and we go through the inevitable ups and downs that will come,” Stefanov said.

Unfortunately, the team’s winning streak ended this past weekend with losses to Edinboro and Slippery Rock.

The Lakers fell to Edinboro 3-1 in close sets. The team put up a fight against Slippery Rock as they fell 3-2 Saturday.

Commenting on the Edinboro game on Friday, Stefanov said they lost because they “played differently” than they recently had.

“I don’t think we lost because Edinboro is the better team. I think we lost because Edinboro was on their ‘A’ game while we most definitely were not.” Yet, the game was not a complete flop. The team came back from being down 23-20 in the first match to win 25-23.

Although this weekend proved to be difficult, the Lakers eight-game winning streak showed their capabilities of being a dominant team.